Saturday, January 19, 2008

Same Old New Year Problems

From the Hindustan Times:
'A mob of 70-80 men groped and molested two young
women for some 15 minutes on a busy main street in
Mumbai’s glamour district Juhu early on New Year’s Day.'
LINK to full article

That piece of news got me ranting on the state of
affairs in India, touted as the soon-to-be world's
next Economic Superpower.
Simply put : if there's not enough room, you're going
to bump into something or someone. If the bumping
is between individuals, sooner or later
it becomes an
unwanted and unavoidable fact of life.It's when the
'bump' turns into 'grind' that it becomes
the unaccepted,
that which must be dealt with on a personal level - via
confrontation with the source of discomfort.

So it is in over-populated India, where overwhelming
opportunities reside for the teeming masses to bump into
each other on a daily basis as they go about their business.
The jostling for comfort and safety in overcrowded
trains, buses and stations remains an ongoing fact of life.

Confrontation with sources of discomfort may take the
situation to levels of verbal abuse and violence and legal
action. However, confrontation often comes with the
threat of repercussion, in the form of stalking of victims
and their families and even murder. As an example of how
confrontation can escalate a problem, take a look at
Houston, Texas USA where I currently reside. When driving
in New York City I freely honked at drivers and pedestrians
to alert them to make way, along with the rest of the
frustrated million people wanting to travel through the
streets of the Big Apple. Same as in India, bumper-to-bumper
and breathing down each other's necks, getting hot under
the collar and honking in frustration. In Texas however,
where Gun Control has a whole different meaning, the
simple act of blowing one's horn at someone who is in
your way means you're almost certain of being physically
confronted or shot at. It's that simple. You blow your horn,
you're asking to get shot. So we don't blast on our car
horns, rather we tap-not beeep-politely to get the other's
attention. Sadly the shooter often drives away without
ever being punished.

What does all this have to do with sexual harassment
in India ? What's my point ? The point is, the extreme
measures necessary to overcome the problem are simply
not in place. That's why the people have the need to
form groups like Blank Noise and attempt to tackle the
problem themselves. It's the Wild West in its Asian
incarnation, and it's only when there are enough
martyrs for the cause that we can hope the situation
merits more action from the Indian Government.

In the meanwhile, Ladies - keep paving the way for your
children's children. Show them the way to take a stand
just as the Suffragettes did a long time ago. We may not
see the change in our lifetime but it will come about
as surely as Democracy did
after India's Independence.

For more opinions on this topic visit the Action Heroes

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